A new tracking algorithm for sea ice age distribution estimation
Journal article, 2018
A new algorithm for estimating sea ice age (SIA) distribution based on the Eulerian advection scheme is presented. The advection scheme accounts for the observed divergence or convergence and freezing or melting of sea ice and predicts consequent generation or loss of new ice. The algorithm uses daily gridded sea ice drift and sea ice concentration products from the Ocean and Sea Ice Satellite Application Facility. The major advantage of the new algorithm is the ability to generate individual ice age fractions in each pixel of the output product or, in other words, to provide a frequency distribution of the ice age allowing to apply mean, median, weighted average or other statistical measures. Comparison with the National Snow and Ice Data Center SIA product revealed several improvements of the new SIA maps and time series. First, the application of the Eulerian scheme provides smooth distribution of the ice age parameters and prevents product undersampling which may occur when a Lagrangian tracking approach is used. Second, utilization of the new sea ice drift product void of artifacts from EUMETSAT OSI SAF resulted in more accurate and reliable spatial distribution of ice age fractions. Third, constraining SIA computations by the observed sea ice concentration expectedly led to considerable reduction of multi-year ice (MYI) fractions. MYI concentration is computed as a sum of all MYI fractions and compares well to the MYI products based on passive and active microwave and SAR products.